B.C. wine will be on grocery store shelves April 1, 2015

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Wine bottles/Shutterstock

British Columbia’s new liquor laws will allow certain grocery stores to have wine on their shelves as of April 1, 2015. Of course, there are a few rules those sellers will have to follow.

This is the second part of the liquor-in-grocery model, and one that opens up the options for sellers in Vancouver. In this phase, existing VQA stores and independent wine stores can relocate or transfer their licence to an eligible grocery store. The licence, however, must only be used to sell wine made 100% in B.C.

These licences are not subject to the one kilometre restrictions that rendered a mere two out of 53 Vancouver stores eligible for the “store-within-a-store” option of the program. However the stores must meet the same criteria when it comes to space: maintaining a minimum of 10,000 sq. ft. and approximately 75% focus on food products and service.

Just a few more rules to make your wine shopping “easier,” courtesy the B.C. government: All off-the-shelf wine transactions will need to be done at designated registers, staffed by employees who have Serving It Right certification and are at least 19 years old. Liquor sales will also be restricted to between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice confirmed Friday that this phase does not allow B.C. craft beer to be sold, and that the craft beer industry has already had a boost from the provincial government to support their businesses.

“Supporting B.C.’s economy and local wine producers through the promotion and sales of made-in-B.C. products is a driving force for government, and this model is one of the many ways that we are changing B.C.’s liquor laws to grow local businesses in this province,” notes Anton.

Anton says this model maintains public health and safety standards while making wine purchases more convenient for consumers, noting that the new laws reflect “common sense changes.”

Featured image: Wine bottles/Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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